First Draft

It all happened in the year 2005 we were 10 years old at the time and none of us saw it coming. At the age of ten you do things without thinking about it. You run freely with every worry above your head. This day was just like any other day, just another game of soccer on the street. My friend Eric had a hard shoot but it was very uncontrollable. He kicked it as hard as he could and it hit off the cross bar and flew behind the net on to the middle of the street. It was his natural instinct to chase the ball and get it back as quickly as possible. Running care free and determined to get the back he didn’t notice the car coming from his right side. It all happened so fast, we were just playing like we always did and neither of us saw it coming.  The bone in his left leg was shattered and the doctors couldn’t fix it so they had to amputate it. I road with him in the ambulance and I will never forget it. The screaming of pain and the tears coming from my eyes because I thought I lost my best friend. I spent the next 3 weeks taking the metro alone and going to the Montreal children’s to visit him. I had nothing else to do, it was the summer and my best friend wasn’t there. At first we thought that he would never be able to walk again since the doctors had him on a wheel chair and never mentioned getting a prosthetic leg. So we started thinking of all the fun stuff he could do in his wheel chair but there wasn’t anything “super fun” that we could think of. Then one day the doctor came in holding a squeaky weird looking stick and he said: “are you ready to walk again?” Eric’s eyes instantly filled with tears of joy. It was hard to stand up let alone walk at first but after months of him practicing and me being there to encourage him every step of the way, he was walking in no time. The thing is he was able to walk but running was out of the question. It’s because the leg wouldn’t move in harmony with his quad. It was more of a flinging motion where if he’d run it would basically just slip off and he’d fall down. Eric is my motivation to make better prosthetic legs. We will both never forget that day and we will both overcome what happened. If the mind can control the leg it will no longer require the quad to move the leg but it will act as a “normal” leg and have a harmonic movement. The days that he spent in a wheel chair and that we realized that if he had stayed in a wheel chair he’d miss out on a lot of things. Well that is my motivation for exoskeleton advancements. So that everyone can experience every part of life even if you are born paralyzed or if you became paralyzed. The incident became who I am today, it is simply my only motivation in life. It lead me to become an engineer and it motivates me to make life better than it currently is for the less fortunate people on this earth.

I know that my studies are still at their lowest and I have a lot more to learn. I have the greatest motivation in my corner and that is why I never give up when times get tuff because I know that in the end I’ll be changing lives.

First draft take 2 (lab7):

The work of a mechanical engineer is to innovate the world and making it easier to live. Many people become engineers because “they make good money” but there are many engineers that just want to help humanity. This doesn’t mean that any human should be left out. There have been many recent projects that have started to create neuro-prosthetic limbs, which will target amputee’s and people that are paralyzed.The importance is quite obvious and motive is quite clear, they want to make a device that will make you feel like nothing ever happened. As if that accident that made you lose a limb never happened. To live your life as you’ve always known to live it without any discomfort, or change in your lifestyle.

Personally I have a friend who lost his leg when I was younger. You can call this my “reason of interest” but it is much more than that. It became my only goal in life, we grew up together and since i was young i would always want to make him feel the same. Then when it came to playing sports it was obvious, and he would just sit and stay there all sad. I told him that i would make his life easy again, that i will help him play like he used to. To this day i will never go back on that promise, he is what my whole life is about. My studies in engineering are all to help him, he’s my best friend to this day and he always tells me “Mass it’s ok i’m used to it now its been 10 years” i look at him smile and tell him you know that won’t change anything. It is all still in research and there have been a few trials in recent months, but when i finish my education their will be results and their will be a new technology on the market for prosthetic, I guarantee it.

Some people might not see the importance in the research, because they don’t know an amputee or aren’t an amputee. How ever the world function on fear and security. Many people on this planet will follow steps and ways of doing things because they are scared to just go out in the world and do something on there own, because it might lead to consequences. I believe that the ability to always have fully functioning limbs, even after being in a plane crash, is something that everyone would want. These neuro-prosthetic will get rid of the fear of loosing a limb, because it will make life seem as if you never lost it in the first place. This will lead people to believe that they can do all those crazy things they always wanted to do, but where always stopping themselves because of the fear of getting hurt.

I won’t go into so much detail about how it works, because to understand the technology without an engineering degree would be like giving and 8 year old kid a calculus problem. The way they work is actually quite simple. The prosthetic will be electrically powered and attached to small “micro chips” that are planted on the brain. The micro chips are directly wired to the prosthetic under the skin, this will make the wires look like vains, so to the brain there is no confusion. The micro chips will act as the nerves of the prosthetic limb sending impulses back and fort to the brain as they already do naturally. Isn’t that what we would all like for it to look, act and feel natural?

People might be worried that society will look and treat them differently is they see a mechanical limb attached to their body. That kids will stop what they are doing and say “look mommy a robot”. This is not the case engineers have already developed a material that feels and looks exactly as skin does. This will literally be like a sleeve that you just slip on in the morning. Which would be just as hard as putting your socks on in the morning.

For the past few weeks i have been trying to get interviews with a few medical engineers or prosthetic specialists. How ever my attempts have always resulted in either no answer or they tell me that they are too busy to answer questions for some cegep student. I then decided to interview an amputee and talk about what he went through and if he knows about neuro-prosthetic and what is his opinion on the technology. The man’s name is Gregory and he had lost his arm in a work accident. Gregory is a retired sheet metal worker who lost his arm when he was 45, he had been working for that company for 20 years at the time. He didn’t want to go into too much detail but he told me that the emergency stop on the machine had failed to work. He felt that it was the only positive that came out of the whole thing, because he was able to get 2 million dollars from the company since it was their fault. Gregory now likes to spend his days at the hospital helping other amputee’s with their trauma and teaching them how to use their prosthetic arm. More specifically he is an orderly for the amputee division in the hospital.

Interviewing Gregory was a great idea, because he was very kind and he opened up to me, as if i’ve known him forever. He told me it did affect his marriage but only because he let it, he started treating his wife differently because he was always depressed and angry. However once he got his life back on track he told me there wasn’t a day that went by that he wouldn’t apologize for being the monster that he was and that he loved her for staying with him during that period. When I asked him if he would like to do what he used to be able to do, he gave me this look, and then he smiled. He told me that their isn’t a day that goes by that he wouldn’t like to be back in the shop working with the metal. He misses the smell of oils burning, the noise of metal clinging and of course the ability to use both hands. When i mentioned neuro prosthetics, he interrupted me halfway trough my question and told me that he is waiting, waiting for the day they call him to tell him he has been accepted for trials. He told me that it might be the only chance he has in getting his old life back.

After having interviewed Gregory I could say that an amputee goes trough a huge change in their life, it is almost as if they have been reborn, yet with a deficiency. They need to learn to live a completely different life then the one they used to. Most amputee’s sadly become unemployed because they can no longer perform as they used to. This how ever is something that can be change with neuro prosthetics. With this technology nothing has to change, they will simply be modified instead of reborn. From what Gregory told me he would’ve preferred that much more.

For Gregory and many others like him neuro-prosthetics is the key to happiness. It is simply the only way that they can do as they have always done. Yet it has not been fully developped? What i don’t understand is why not? the technology is almost 100% there, so whats stopping engineers from creating it? Money and funding is the answer. Since amputee’s don’t make up a great number of humans they are seen as “less important”. This means that not many donations are being made for amputee’s which means that the needs to advance can’t be purchased. The miracle that this branch of medical research needs is a man of high value to become an amputee. Then he will personally fund the advancements and a working neuro-prosthetic can come about sooner then expected.

The soul purpose of this article was to put neuro-prosthetics on the map. It is a revolutionary technology that can be used eternally and should be created in the near future. Many amputee’s will benefit from this technology. Wether it is getting their old jobs back, having a working arm again or simply getting their lives back to the way it was pre accident. Neuro-prosthetics will become a reality one of these days and people will live as we all live with not disadvantages amongst physicality.

Word count before Reading Response #8: 1491
Word count after Reading Response #8: 2041

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